Powerball Jackpot Swells To $500 Million, Fourth Largest Jackpot in Game’s 23-Year History

Published Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 10:38 am

As anticipation grows for tonight’s Powerball drawing, so does the size of the jackpot – which now stands at a $500 million annuity worth $306 million cash.

For the second time in two days, Powerball officials increased the jackpot due to strong ticket sales. The jackpot ranks as the fourth-largest in the game’s 23-year history.

“It is exciting to kick off the New Year in a big way with a big jackpot,” said Alice Garland, the lottery’s executive director. “We appreciate our players’ enthusiasm but always remind folks: It only takes one ticket to win.”

Since Powerball tickets went on sale here in 2006, four North Carolina players have beaten the odds to win jackpots of $74.5 million to $188 million. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292 million.

But there is more than just the jackpot to play for. Nationally, 316 prizes of $1 million or $2 million have been won in the past year.

If there is no perfect ticket for an 18th straight drawing, the jackpot on the line Saturday would eclipse the game’s record amount of $590.5 million set in May 2013.

Ticket sales for games such as Powerball will help the lottery for a third straight year raise more than half a billion dollars for education. For details on how lottery funds make a difference in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties, visit the “Where the Money Goes” page on the lottery’s website.

Powerball Jackpot Swells To $450M

The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing has hit $450 million and could rise higher. It’s worth $275.4 million if claimed as a one-time cash payment. This is the 4th largest jackpot in the game’s 23-year history.

What to do if you win:

Your first reaction will be to celebrate, but if you do snag the Powerball jackpot there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Sign and secure your ticket: If you win, you must sign the back of your original ticket immediately to establish your ownership. Make sure you keep it in a safe place until you decide to claim your prize.
  • Get professional advice: It’s a good idea to contact a financial and legal adviser to make sure you have a sound plan.
  • Take your time: You have 180 days to claim your winnings, which will give you time to figure out what to do with the money and how it will change your life.

Odds of winning:

While odds of winning the Powerball Jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338 people do win. Over the last ten years four winners have come from North Carolina.

  • Marie Holmes (Shallotte):Feb. 11, 2015/ won $188,000,000 jackpot
  • Frank Griffin (Asheville ): Feb. 6, 2010 / won $141,400,000 jackpot
  • Jeff Wilson (Kings Mountain): June 20, 2009 / won $88,100,000 jackpot
  • Jackie Alston (Halifax): Nov. 29, 2006 / won $74,500,000 jackpot

Players in North Carolina regularly win other large prizes:

December:

  • 3 players claimed $50,000 prizes
  • 1 player claimed a $100,000 prize
  • 1 unclaimed $200,000 prize

November:

  • 1 player claimed a $2 million prize
  • 3 players claimed $50,000-$200,000 prizes

And it’s easier to win the Powerball jackpot than to pick the perfect March Madness bracket. Odds of that happening are 1 in 2.4 trillion.

Ticket sales for games such as Powerball made it possible for the lottery to raise more than half a billion dollars for the state last year. For details on how lottery funds have made a difference in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties, visit the “Where the Money Goes” section on the lottery’s website.

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